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ESSAY QUESTION-MANAGING EMPLOYEE RELATIONSIntroduction  UK employee relation has seen significant changes over the last 30 years. The nature and character of UK’s industrial relations system itself has changed dramatically over the twenty years. The wages and employment conditions are no longer so dependent on arbitrated industry. The present day government is thus currently in the process of designing a range of new legislative measures intended to facilitate what it describes as a plan to modernize UK’s workplace relations system But it represents a case of the organization of industrial relations without collective bargaining.

This is quite surprising because post-war system of industrial relations emerged within the broader context of an industrializing competitive market economy and a British colonial political system that granted freedom to workers to organize unions. Here, the industrial relations might have been expected to evolve towards a system characterized by a growing volume of procedural and substantive rules governing labour market transactions as an outcome of institutionalized bargaining among organizations representing employees and employers at enterprise, industry and/or national levels. It poses a problem for analysts of industrial relations since this scenario did not materialize.

Ackers, P. (2002) ‘Reframing employment relations: the case for neo-pluralism’, Industrial Relations Journal, 33 (1): 2-19.Union OrientationsThe union orientation has its own impact in both countries. The permissive and non-interventionist approach to labour relations has both reinforced, and been reinforced by, the orientation and character of the trade-union movement. Despite its eventual failure, the last general strike of the Government Employees, it has focused both public and governmental attention on thorny problem of government's relations with its employees. The government is expected to be a model employer, and it is its duty to devise suitable machinery for resolving the grievances of its civil servants.

We shall discuss this problem under the following heads: Right of Association, Right of Strike, andMachinery for Negotiation and Settlement of Disputes. RIGHT OF ASSOCIATIONThree problems are involved here: (1) Can public servants form their associations? (2) Can these associations be affiliated to trade unions outside? (3) Can they join a political party? The practice differs from country to country. Civil servants in U. K. are absolutely free to form service associations and to continue to be members of such associations, whether they are recognized by the Government or not.

Any such association can become part of the wider trade union movement by resolution of its Annual Meeting or by a ballot of its members. Between 1927 and 1946, however, the Trade Disputes Act forbade a permanent civil servant to belong to a union which had affiliation to an outside trade union, or any political party. The Labour Government of 1945 repealed the 1927 Act in 1946. This was followed by the re -affiliation of some Civil Service Unions to the Trade Union Congress.

These included the larger Associations representing postal, clerical and similar other workers, but bodies representing professional, executive and administrative civil servants have remained aloof. As regards links with political parties, only the Union of Post Office Workers is affiliated to the Labour Party. None is affiliated to any other party. There are specific rules and conditions laid down for it. Civil Service Associations must go through a prescribed procedure before being able to join a political party. Again, unions are forbidden to use any general funds for political purposes.

Edwards, P. (2003) Industrial Relations: Theory and Practice. Oxford: Blackwell. Read in particular chapter 20, pp. 513-521.

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